Bridge Deck Service Life Prediction and Costs

Report No: 08-CR4

Published in 2007

About the report:

The service life of Virginia's concrete bridge decks is generally controlled by chloride-induced corrosion of the reinforcing steel as a result of the application of winter maintenance deicing salts. A chloride corrosion model accounting for the variable input parameters using Monte Carlo resampling was developed. The model was validated using condition surveys from 10 Virginia bridge decks built with bare steel. The influence of changes in the construction specifications of w/c = 0.47 and 0.45 and w/cm = 0.45 and a cover depth increase from 2 to 2.75 inches was determined. Decks built under the specification of w/cm = 0.45 (using slag or fly ash) and a 2.75-inch cover depth have a maintenance free service life of greater than 100 years, regardless of the type of reinforcing steel. Galvanized, MMFX-2, and stainless steel, in order of increasing reliability of a service life of greater than 100 years, will provide a redundant corrosion protection system. Life cycle cost analyses were conducted for polymer concrete and portland cement-based overlays as maintenance activities. The most economical alternative is dependent on individual structure conditions. The study developed a model and computer software that can be used to determine the time to first repair and rehabilitation of individual bridge decks taking into account the time for corrosion initiation, time from initiation to cracking, and time for corrosion damage to propagate to a state requiring repair.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Gregory Williamson, Richard E. Weyers, Michael M. Sprinkel, P.E., Michael C. Brown, Ph.D., P.E.

Last updated: November 24, 2023

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